Development of a PDT protocol that avoids amputations in the diabetic feet

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by Mauricio da Silva Baptista

Photoinduced reactions can be used to treat diseases such as cancer or microbial infections in a process called Photodynamic therapy. There are several indications of PDT in the areas of dermatology, oncology, vascular, blood supplies, ophthalmology. In addition to performing research in basic science related with PDT, CEPID Redoxoma researchers work in partnership with physicians, participating on clinical studies that aim to prove the potential of PDT in clinical medicine as can be seen in article published in 2014 [1]. There are several characteristics of PDT that make it potentially ideal to treat diabetic feet: the photosensitizer is non-toxic in the dark, but after illumination it becomes a very efficient antimicrobial agent with topical use, and it can regenerate small bones, such as the phalanges. However, PDT is still not used in clinical practice to treat diabetic feet. Therefore, we decided to perform a clinical study to prove that PDT is an effective method to avoid amputation in diabetic patients. An inexpensive PDT protocol was developed and applied to 18 patients with osteomyelitis, classified as Grade 3 on the Wagner scale. Only one of these patients suffered amputation. At least two of them were cured from resistant bacteria strains without intravenous antibiotic therapy. In the control group of 16 patients, all of them ended up suffering amputation. The amputation rate was 35 times lower in the group treated with PDT compared with the control group (who received conventional treatment). This protocol is currently being used to treat about 100 patients with diabetic foot in the University Hospital of the ABC School of Medicine. We expect to start a multicenter study, trying to expand the benefit of this protocol for the largest possible number of patients. Physicians interested in participating in the multicenter study, please contact Dr. Tardivo in the email: jptardivo@uol.com.br.


  1. J. P. Tardivo, F. Adami, J. A. Correa, M. A. S. Pinhal, M. S. Baptista
    A clinical trial testing the efficacy of PDT in preventing amputation in diabetic patients.
    Photodiagnosis and Photodynamic Therapy, 11(3): 342-50, 2014. | http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pdpdt.2014.04.007

Mauricio da Silva Baptista, PhD.
Professor at Biochemistry Department,
Institute of Chemistry, University of São Paulo, Brazil.

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